The battle of undefeated Apollo Conference teams will take place after a delay. A Covid outbreak at Lincoln caused the original date in December to get postponed. Charleston will now face its toughest test in the conference against Lincoln, ranked No. 10 overall in Class 3A, according to MaxPreps.
Here is a preview for tonight’s game:
Team Records: Charleston (10-5, 4-0) vs. Lincoln (12-1, 2-0)
Where: Charleston High School
Tickets: Tickets can be purchased at Baker Gym
School Size: Charleston (796), Lincoln (810)
JV Tip-Off: 6:00 p.m.
Varsity Tip-Off: 7:30 p.m.
Opponent’s History: Neil Alexander has coached the Railsplitters since 1990-1991. He owns a career record of 737-232 with 18 Regional Championships, five Sectional Championships, four state appearances, and a state runner-up finish. Lincoln got robbed of making a run for the state in 2019-2020 before COVID-19 ended the team’s finish at 32-2. Last year, the team finished 18-5.
Lincoln’s Past Results: Lincoln participated at the highly touted Collinsville Holiday Tournament where the Railsplitters finished fifth after a 3-1 showing. Lincoln defeated Alton 35-17 but lost to 33-30 to Quincy, which placed fourth in the tourney. The team closed out the tournament with a 24-19 win over Madison and a 51-38 win over Granite City.
Lincoln’s Top Players: Before playing at the holiday tournament, Lincoln had allowed 31.1 points per game. Payton Cook, a 6-foot-5 junior forward, is the grandson of Norm Cook and the nephew of former Illinois standout Brian Cook. Both Lincoln players played in the NBA. Jake Biven is the team’s leading scorer, while guard Camden Nelson made the All-Tournament Team as the lone selection.
Lincoln’s Team Stats: Lincoln is averaging 42.5 points per game and allowing an incredibly low 29.7 points per game.
Charleston’s Past Results: Charleston participated at the Effingham/Teutopolis Christmas Classic, where the team finished 2-2. Their losses came against Newton and Champaign Centennial, while they defeated Lutheran North and Mattoon.
Charleston’s Team Stats: Charleston is averaging 55.5 points per game and allowing 51.9 points per game.
What Lincoln Said: “Payton Cook has started off the year very well,” said Alexander. “Jake Bivin is leading us in scoring after four games. Senior Elijah Pollice has been moved to point guard which is not his best position. He is learning the position as we play.”
What Charleston Said: “Any win in the tough Apollo conference is awesome, but, currently, our focus is on preparing and being mentally and physically ready,” said Drone. “Our coaching staff and teamwork hard to put in the work and focus on the job at hand. If we execute our game plan and play as we can play, we will have success. Our effort and the Charleston brand of basketball we’re creating needs to be there night in and night out for us to keep improving this season.”